20 August, 2008

Thoughts of an ex kerala syllabus student on textbook controversy and strikes!

By C. Radhakrishnan

So the 7th standard textbook controversy in Kerala seems to have come to an end. The Communist government has agreed to change the contents of the controversial 7th standard social science chapter. The Congress and Muslim League also seems to have mellowed down their tones against the textbook, after an innocent school teacher lost his life during a protest by Muslim Youth League in a cluster training session. But Arch Bishops are still not cooled down as they would be losing a chance to bring down the Communist government, after the call for second liberation struggle had failed (they do not see that the Communists are already bringing themselves down from the power).

So what do we have after all said and done, after all “for” and “against” textbook speeches? We have the ordinary children going to the state-sponsored educational labs called “state-syllabus schools”. The rich and the elite can afford to give good education to their children at ICSE and CBSE schools while the ordinary people have to resort to state-syllabus schools. What most of us do not see is the plight of these children. Be it DPEP, or such controversial textbooks and such controversial educational reforms, it is these children who have to suffer. And what does await them when they complete their higher secondary education and go to college? They have to compete with the children who comes from the elite CBSE and ICSE schools who are better educated and who speak better English. Many of the kids who come from state-syllabus schools begin to feel inferior at this point and for many, it affects their studies.

Many of us Keralites are not bothered about this poor situation that exists in our state-syllabus schools even if we have studied in such schools. Because those among us who have fought with the environmental challenges in such schools and have succeeded to overcome it’s limitations, send our children to CBSE or ICSE schools for better education. So the matter again concerns the lowest strata of the society and thus go un-noticed.